For the first time in seven years, all federal agencies in fiscal 2013 met their goals of steering 23 percent of contracting to small businesses, according to panelists at an industry conference on Thursday.
Emily Murphy, senior counsel for the House Small Business Committee, in a discussion on legislation and the Small Business Administration’s rulemaking progress, made the disclosure and suggested that SBA is tardy in making the announcement.
Her co-panelist, Kenneth Dodds, SBA’s director of policy, planning and liaisons, said the announcement “deadline is soft,” and that the score card is still being readied.
The Small Business conference was staged by the American Council for Technology-Industry Advisory Council and is intended as an opportunity for small business contractors to interact with agency representatives on how to qualify and win more work.
SBA’s annual score card, besides giving an overall percentage of contract dollars that go to small firms, gives each agency’s contracting rate and goals for qualified small businesses as well as small businesses owned by women, disadvantaged people and disabled veterans or that are located in Historically Underutilized Business Zones.
Last year, SBA reported that the government overall had just missed the goal of 23 percent for fiscal 2012, awarding small businesses $89.9 billion in government contracts, 22.25 percent of total contracting dollars.
SBA public affairs specialist Tiffani Shea Clements told Government Executive Thursday that the agency “is in the process of finalizing the contracting performance and score card for each federal agency. Until that time, we have no further comment.”
A spokesman for the House committee cited section 1632 of the fiscal 2013 National Defense Authorization Act that amended the Small Business Act. It requires the SBA administrator to release the results to the president and Congress, as well as post on a public website 60 days after agencies deliver their data at the end of the fiscal year, which this go-round was Sept. 30, 2013.
The House committee has pursued legislation to raise the agency small business goals from 23 percent to 25 percent.
According to the SBA website, the agency goals for the under-served groups are 5 percent of prime and subcontracts for women-owned small businesses; 5 percent for Small Disadvantaged Businesses; 3 percent for HUBZone small businesses; and 3 percent for service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses.
Not all agencies have the same goals for hiring small business. At a separate panel at the conference, Eugene Cornelius Jr., deputy associate administrator for SBA’s Office of Field Operations, said “some are at 3 percent to 5 percent, others at 40 percent to 50 percent. They’re tailored more than the public perceives it.”
Kay Ely, director of Schedule 70 integrated technology solutions at the General Services Administration’s Federal Acquisition Service, said in her program there is much room for small businesses to grow. “While 85 percent of GSA’s Multiple Award Program contract holders are small businesses, they have received only 38 percent of the total dollars in MAS,” she said. "Maybe down the road we won’t need small business goals because they’ll be working.”